The latest LulzSec hack upon the websites of scandal-struck News International and some of its U.K. newspapers is just another episode in the adventures of what the hackers themselves call “the Lulz Boat,” by which they mean the increasingly bizarre and illegal trip they’re taking through global media and politics.
Lulz, of course, is slang for laughs. But not everyone knows that. Certainly not everyone at the U.K.’s Sky News channel (owned in part by Rupert Murdoch).
When LulzSec took control of News International’s websites last night, they put in place an automatic redirect to the LulzSec Twitter feed. The Sky News presenter and her guests watched, bemused, as the redirect was demonstrated on a big screen above their heads. Then they wondered out loud, “Louise boat? Who is Louise Boat?”
Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye. There.
Meanwhile, the Louise Boat – sorry, the Lulz Boat – is still sailing stronger than ever before. LouiseSec says it has News International’s email archives in its possession. Quite what that might mean in terms of future lulz is anyone’s guess.
LulzSec says it does what it does for fun, and treats the whole thing as an enormous joke, but there’s a serious lesson here for anyone and everyone who operates their own website: right now, your security is probably not good enough.
Whoever crews the Lulz Boat has sufficient command of computers to compromise the security of some of the world’s biggest companies and most powerful agencies. If your small company or medium-sized agency has a website, or if there’s any way of accessing your company data from the outside, now is the time to wake up and start checking everything.
Make sure everyone you employ is using a strong password. Make sure everyone understands what phishing is, and how to avoid being taken in by it. Make sure your networks are as robust as you can make them, and if you’re not sure, hire professionals who can do it.
The time to do these things is now. Before the Lulz Boat, or the Louise Boat, comes sailing in your direction.